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March 31, 2009

Small Claims Limit Increasing Soon

On May 12, 2009 Utah's small claims court jurisdiction will increase from $7,500 to $10,000.

Small claims courts use simplified rules of procedure and evidence. They are designed so that people can go to court to resolve their disputes for amounts under the jurisdictional limit without an attorney.

In Utah, small claims cases can be heard in District and Justice courts.

While the small claims process is designed to be easier for the self-represented person, cases can get complicated, so consider some of the options on the court's Finding Legal Help page including mediation, legal clinics and limited legal help.

Additional small claims resources:

The Structure of State Courts

What's the difference between a district court and a justice court? Why do the names of courts differ from state to state? How can you tell which court you should be in? To help answer some of these questions, the National Center on State Courts has published charts showing the structure of courts in every state.

Tonight Only: Estate Planning Class

You are invited to a free introductory class on estate planning. Topics include how and when medical directive and power of attorney documents are used, transferring probate and non-probate property, and tax considerations.

When: Tonight (3/31) at 7 p.m.
Where: East Millcreek Library (2266 Evergreen Avenue, Salt Lake City)

Can't make it tonight? Check out more dates for other classes in the Financial Well Being series.

If you have any questions, please call the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990.

Criminal Penalties in Utah

We get a lot of questions about criminal penalties in the law library.

The court's Criminal Penalties page explains the difference between felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. It also provides information about the different degrees and classes and the possible penalties - imprisonment and fines - for each level of offense.

The page also describes some of the things a judge considers when imposing a sentence, and provides an outline of the sentencing process.

March 30, 2009

Wireless Password: goose

The wireless password for the week of March 30, 2009 is goose.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

March 27, 2009

Passport Requirement Changes

On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens will have to present a passport book, passport card, or other travel documents approved by the U.S. government in order to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

In an effort to help people get the required documents before this change goes into effect, regional Passport Agencies and local Passport Acceptance Facilities will be open Saturday, March 28th as part of Passport Day in the USA.

From the press release:

U.S. citizens will receive passport information and can apply for their passport at “Passport Day in the USA” events. For this day only, appointments and expedite fees are not required for those applying at a Passport Agency. Applicants can expect to receive their passport in approximately four weeks for routine service and about two to three weeks for expedited service.

These Utah passport offices are participating in Passport Day in the USA:

Davis County Clerk/Auditor
28 East State Street
(801) 451‐3213

Iron County Clerk
68 South 100 East
(435) 477‐8340

Uintah County Clerk/Auditor
147 E Main
(435) 781‐5361

Finding Legal Help: Take the Online Tour!

Need to find an attorney, a legal clinic, or other legal assistance?

Now there's an online narrated tour available to help you get oriented to the Court's "Finding Legal Help" page.

This five minute audio tour shows you how to search for an attorney based on location, subject area specialty, and languages spoken. It also explains how to locate legal clinics in your area, and points out free or low-cost alternatives to retaining a lawyer.

You'll need to download and install the Adobe Flash Payer before viewing the tour. Download it free here.

Filing Fee Changes - Effective May 12, 2009

On May 12th some of the court's civil filing fees will be increasing. You can see all the fee changes by reading the enrolled copy of Senate Bill 184.

A few sample increases:

  • Divorce or Separate Maintenance - increasing from $155 to $310
  • Expungement - increasing from $65 to $135
  • Garnishment - increasing from $35 to $50
  • Modification of a divorce decree - increasing from $40 to $100
  • Trial de novo from a Justice Court or small claims case - increasing from $75 to $225
You can find the current list of court filing fees on the court's website.

March 26, 2009

New Book: Make Your Own Living Trust

We've just received the latest edition of Make Your Own Living Trust.

This Nolo book provides an overview of living trusts, answers some common questions and discusses issues such as choosing what property to put in the trust, who to name as trustee, and how to choose beneficiaries.

Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

Tonight: Foreclosure 101

You are invited to a free introductory class on foreclosure, which includes information about how to prevent foreclosure and your options if you have been served with a notice of default.

When: Tonight (3/26) at 7 p.m.
Where: West Jordan Library (1970 West 7800 South)

Can't make it tonight? Check out other dates for the foreclosure class and other classes in the Financial Well Being series.

If you have any questions, please call the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990.

March 25, 2009

New Court of Appeals Briefs

We have received 16 new Court of Appeals briefs. The docket numbers range from 20060810CA to 20080415CA (list not inclusive).

If you're looking for a specific brief, contact the library by phone or email to make sure we have it. If you can't come in to make copies yourself, we offer a document delivery service for 25 cents per page and will scan and email the briefs to you.

March 23, 2009

Wireless Password: flame

The wireless password for the week of March 23, 2009 is flame.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

March 19, 2009

CFR 2009

CFR2.JPG Every year at this time library staff all over the country ask one burning question: "What color will the Code of Federal Regulations be this year?"

We now have the answer for 2009: light olive green.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is updated annually on a quarterly schedule. The set has now begun its transition from last year's salmon to this year's olive green.

The latest CFR - and previous versions back to 1997 - are available via GPO Access.

If you're a State of Utah employee, you can access the entire historical collection of CFRs (back to 1938) via HeinOnline from your work computer. If you're having trouble accessing HeinOnline, contact us for assistance.

New Book: Legal Guide for Americans Over 50

legalguide.jpg The American Bar Association has published a self-help book called "Legal Guide for Americans Over 50." The topics range in subject from grandparents' rights and estate planning to health benefits and elder abuse. Each of the 16 chapters provide general information about legal issues that may interest the 50+ population and provide scenarios and Q&As with elder law attorneys to illustrate the topics.

At the end of each chapter, you'll find additional resources about each topic, including links to websites. For example, at the end of the grandparents' rights chapter, there are links to the Grandparent Information Center at the American Association of Retired Persons, Generations United's National Center on Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children, and the National Eldercare Locator.

March 18, 2009

Watch Online: Bankruptcy Basics

Wondering about bankruptcy? Whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? Or what property you might be able to keep after you file?

If you missed the last Bankruptcy Basics class, you don't have to wait until the next live class to get information.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have produced an 8-part video series describing the type of debts that are discharged, the steps required to complete the bankruptcy process, and more.

Bring your questions to the next Bankruptcy Basics class on April 7 at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Library.

March 17, 2009

Tonight: Foreclosure 101

You are invited to a free introductory class on foreclosure, which includes information about how to prevent foreclosure and your options if you have been served with a notice of default.

When: Tonight (3/17) at 7 p.m.
Where: East Millcreek Library (2266 Evergreen Avenue, Salt Lake City)

Can't make it tonight? Check out other dates for the foreclosure class and other classes in the Financial Well Being series.

If you have any questions, please call the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990.

March 16, 2009

Researching Superseded Versions of the Utah Code

One of the most popular research requests we get at our library is for superseded Utah Codes - what the law looked like before the current version. The Utah State Law Library has a complete collection of superseded Utah Codes starting with Compiled Laws of Utah (1876), as well as Utah's session laws dating back to 1851.

Figuring Out the Life Story of a Statute
Every statute has a story to tell. To trace a statute's history you'll need an annotated Utah code, in print or online. Look for the history information provided after the text of the law. Note that the version of the Utah Code provided on the Legislature's website is unannotated, and only provides information about the most recent amendment to the law.

Code VersionHistory Information for §73-3-25
Utah Code AnnotatedHistory: R.S. 1933, 100-3-25, added by L. 1937, ch. 130, § 2; 1941, ch. 96, §1; C. 1943, 100-3-25; L. 1987, ch. 25, § 3; 1987, ch. 161, § 297, 2004 ch. 191, § 3; 2008, ch. 282, § 3; 2008, ch. 382 § 2144.
West’s Utah Code AnnotatedLaws 1937, c. 130, § 2; Laws 1941, c. 96, §1; Laws 1987, c. 25, § 3; 1987, c. 161, § 297; Laws 2004 c. 191 § 3, eff. May 3, 2004; Laws 2008, c. 282, § 3 eff. May 5, 2008; Laws 2008, c. 382 § 2144, eff. May 5, 2008.

Codifications: R.S. 1933, § 100-3-25; C. 1943, § 100-3-25.

Although the abbreviations and format used in the two annotated codes vary slightly, they both convey the same information:
  • This section was originally enacted in 1937 as chapter 130, section 2
  • The section previously appeared in the 1933 Revised Statutes as section 100-3-25
  • The section was amended in 1941
  • The section was amended in 1987 by two different session laws
  • The section was amended in 2004
  • The section was amended in 2008 by two different session laws

Annotations provide other useful information including a summary of the changes from the most recent amendment to the law, notes of Utah appellate court decisions which interpret the law, and cross-references.

Sometimes the History Notes Aren't Enough
In most cases the history line provides a complete history of the statute from its enactment to its current version. However, statutes can be renumbered, or repealed and re-enacted, and these actions are not always reflected in the history notes or other annotations. If you think the law existed before the stated enactment date, look at superseded code volumes older than the purported enactment date, or at the enacting session law to see if there's any mention of the legislature moving the chapter or section to a different part of the code.

Law library staff have other tricks up their sleeves too, so don't hesitate to ask for help!

Wireless Password: early

The wireless password for the week of March 16, 2009 is early.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

March 13, 2009

Legislative Roundup

The 2009 General Session of the Utah State Legislature ended last night at midnight.

You can see a list of laws that passed on the Legislature's Bills Passed page.

Click on the underlined heading for any column to sort the list by that criteria. If, for example, you want to see how many laws were passed on a specific day of the session, click on the Date Passed heading.

A complete list of all the bills considered in the 2009 General Session, passed or not, is available on the Bills and Resolutions page.

March 12, 2009

New Book: Collect Your Judgment in 5 Easy Steps

Sometimes winning your court case is only half the battle. Sometimes it's equally challenging to collect your judgment from the other side.

The law library has just purchased a book called Collect Your Judgment in 5 Easy Steps by Adrienne M. McMillan that provides some guidance. The book is not Utah-specific so not all procedures will be available to a Utah litigant, but it is written in plain language so you don't have be a lawyer to understand the information.

You'll also find information on this topic on the court's How to Collect a Judgment page.

March 11, 2009

Tomorrow: Introduction to Westlaw Class

We are offering an Introduction to Westlaw class tomorrow (3/12) at 3:30 p.m. Check out our previous blog post for more information.

March 10, 2009

Unemployment Benefits in Utah

In December of 2008, Utah had a 4.1% unemployment rate. Regional state unemployment rates for January 2009 will be released tomorrow by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in the meantime you can use this interactive map to track unemployment rates by county, which are based on the December 2008 statistics.

The laws governing unemployment benefits in Utah are found at Title 35A, Chapter 4. The Department of Workforce Services has also enacted administrative rules about unemployment insurance.

For information about how to file for unemployment benefits, visit the Department of Workforce Services' page on Unemployment Insurance for Job Seekers. From this page, you can learn about how to file new claims, reopen a claim, or file an appeal.

March 09, 2009

Wireless Password: dined

The wireless password for the week of March 9, 2009 is dined.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

March 06, 2009

Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights

Utah law recognizes the importance of the parent-child relationship. However, sometimes it may be in the best interests of a child for the parent's rights to be terminated. In some cases, the State of Utah or some other party may ask the court to terminate a parent's rights. Or, the parent may want to terminate his or her own rights.

Utah law allows a parent to voluntarily relinquish--or give up-- his or her parental rights. There is a specific court procedure for this. Information and forms for this procedure are now available on the court website.

Consumer Law Information

For information about consumer law issues and advocacy tips, see the National Consumer Law Center.

This site provides useful consumer brochures like What You Should Know About Debt Collection and also has a special section on consumer information for seniors.

Don't Get Stuck With a Lemon!

If you've bought a new car, motorcycle or motor home and are having persistent problems with it that can't be repaired, you may have a lemon on your hands.

Utah's New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act (aka the Lemon Law), Utah Code §13-20-1 et seq. defines when a new vehicle is considered a lemon, and what your remedies are. Used car purchases are not covered under the Lemon Law.

The Division of Consumer Protection has created rules related to this law - New Motor Vehicle Warranty Rules, Utah Administrative Code R152-20

The Utah Division of Consumer Protection's Automobiles page has more information about the Lemon Law, as well as other car-related issues.

March 05, 2009

National Do Not Call Registry

Hate those annoying phone calls from telemarketers just as you're sitting down for dinner?

By now you should know about the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to register your phone number telling telemarketers you don't want to hear from them. It used to be that you had to re-register your number after 5 years, but the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007 (P.L. 100-187) now makes registratration permanent.

You can register up to three telephone numbers at a time, including cell phone numbers. It can take up to 31 days from when you register for telemarketers to remove you from their call lists.

Some Limitations
Registering will not stop all calls. Political organizations, charities, and telephone poll-takers are still allowed to call you. Registration is for personal phone numbers only - not fax numbers or business numbers. Information about stopping unwanted faxes is available on the FCC website

Filing a Complaint
If you registered more than 31 days ago and a telemarketer you think is covered by the National Do Not Call Registry has called, you can file a complaint:

Online: www.donotcall.gov
Toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236)

To file a complaint, you must know the name or telephone number of the company that called you, and the date the company called you.

March 04, 2009

Junk Mail Be Gone

Since it's Consumer Protection Week, it's time to protect your mail box and e-mail from unwanted solicitations. Unwanted junk mail fills up your mail box and trash bin (or, hopefully your recycle bin) and you waste time deleting e-mail spam messages.

The Direct Marketing Association web site allows you to stop receiving credit card offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers by simply entering your mailing address and selecting which offers you no longer want to receive. Over 3,600 organizations belong to DMA, and if you say you don't want to receive a member organization's offer or ad, they will stop sending it to you.

Note that if you're already a customer of a certain company, you have to directly contact the company to stop sending you mail. DMA provides the e-mail address, phone number, and address of customer service offices. But if you're just a prospective customer, signing up with DMA gets you off that company's list.

DMA also allows you to opt-out of receiving unwanted marketing e-mails with their e-mail Preference Service.

OptOutPreScreen.com provides a way for you to opt-out of receiving firm offers for credit and insurance. You can opt out for five years or forever. Opting out of prescreened or preapproved offers doesn't mean you're ineligible to apply for credit cards--it just means you get to contact the credit card company when and how you choose.

And what about junk faxes? While it's not as easy to opt-out of receiving junk faxes, the Federal Communications Commission provides information about how to remove your fax number from company lists and the complaint procedure. You can also file a complaint with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

March 03, 2009

Tonight: Bankruptcy Basics

You are invited to a free introductory class on bankruptcy, presented by Utah attorney Jory Trease.

When: Tonight (3/3) at 7 p.m.
Where: East Millcreek Library (2266 Evergreen Avenue, Salt Lake City)

If you have any questions, please call the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990.

Free Credit Reports

Yesterday Joanne blogged about identity theft. One way to monitor your credit history for suspicious activity is to request a copy of your credit report each year.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - provide you with a free copy of your credit report upon your request every 12 months. You can request your reports online, via a toll-free phone number or by mail.


Beware of imposter websites! This is the only authorized website to request your credit reports!


Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

For more information about getting free credit reports, read the FTC's publication Your Access to Free Credit Reports.

March 02, 2009

Classes & Tours in April

In commemoration of National Library Week (April 12-18, 2009) the Utah State Law Library will be offering the following classes and tours:

Introduction to Resources for Self-Represented Parties
The class introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

Monday, April 13th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Monday, April 13th 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 15th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 15th 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Westlaw Basics
This class will teach you how to search for case law, statutes, and other information using specialized search techniques. You will also learn about the various options for printing and saving.

Tuesday, April 14th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14th 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Introduction to HeinOnline
HeinOnline provides access to historic and current legal publications, including law reviews and Federal material, and includes content not available on Westlaw or LexisNexis. Learn how to access these documents and view, print, and download them in PDF form.

Thursday, April 16th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 16th 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Register Today!
Registration is required for all classes. To reserve your spot:
• Call 238-7990
• Email library@email.utcourts.gov
• Or, stop by the State Law Library

All classses will be held at the Utah State Law Library
Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street, Room W-13

Identity Theft Awareness

If you're a Utah resident and a victim of identity theft, you can use the state's Identity Theft Reporting Information System (IRIS) to report it. You can also check on the status of an existing case.

IRIS also provides step-by-step guidelines for resolving situations related to identity theft, such as unauthorized credit card charges or lost identification cards.

IRIS also has general education resources such as scam and identity theft alerts to keep you posted on data breaches happening locally and nationally, a media center with videos featuring topics such as credit freeze and phishing, as well as an interactive timeline where you can learn about how identity theft laws were created in Utah.

The Federal Trade Commission has additional educational resources for consumers, including tips to minimize your risk for becoming a victim.

National Consumer Protection Week

National Consumer Protection Week
March 1 - 7 is National Consumer Protection Week.

In honor of this week, State Law Library staff will blog on a variety of consumer-related topics including identity theft, junk mail, Utah's lemon law, the National Do Not Call Registry and how to request your free credit reports. Stay tuned for these informative posts!

Wireless Password: cabin

The wireless password for the week of March 2, 2009 is cabin.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.